Global Engagement Solutions for Higher Education


The SIO's New Superpower: Digital Transformation

June 11, 2024


From a podcast interview with Grant Chapman, an experienced global engagement and international education professional with over 30 years of experience. Grant is a Fulbright Scholar and Phi Beta Kappa member.

“This international data inventory is a game-changer. It will help us develop a real-time tool that is the ultimate for sharing the impact of what we do globally.”


Data has become a driving force behind innovation and progress in today's digital age. The ability to collect, analyze, and utilize data has transformed various industries, and higher education is no exception. Strategic International Officers (SIOs) are crucial in fostering global engagement and building relationships with international partners. With the advent of digital databases and infrastructure, SIOs now have the power to leverage data in ways that were previously unimaginable. In this article, we will explore the transformative potential of digital data for SIOs and how it empowers them to build global relationships.

Harnessing Real-Time Insights through Digital Data

As SIOs, one of the key responsibilities is to stay informed about the international activities and initiatives within their institutions. Traditionally, this involved relying on manual reports and updates from various departments. However, the emergence of digital databases has revolutionized this process. According to the transcript, an “international inventory” is a game-changer for SIOs. It allows them to develop real-time tools that provide insights into ongoing global initiatives.

With access to a digital database, SIOs can track and monitor international activities daily. This not only enhances their understanding of the current state of global engagement but also enables them to identify new opportunities for collaboration and partnership. As Grant mentioned, this real-time information can be used to advocate for new grant proposals, as it provides concrete evidence of the institution’s global impact.

Advocating for Global Initiatives and Impact

The power of digital data goes beyond just tracking and monitoring international activities. It also enables SIOs to share the impact of their institution’s global initiatives with their local communities. In the transcript, one speaker highlights the importance of showcasing how global engagement benefits the institution and the local community. By leveraging digital data, SIOs can effectively communicate the positive outcomes of their global initiatives and demonstrate how they contribute to improving their local communities.

For example, suppose a university collaborates with international partners on a research project that addresses a global issue, such as climate change. In that case, the SIO can use digital data to quantify the impact of the research. This data can then be shared with local stakeholders, policymakers, and community members to highlight the institution’s contribution to finding global solutions. By bridging the gap between global initiatives and local impact, SIOs can foster a sense of pride and engagement within their communities.

Understanding One’s Place in the World

In addition to facilitating real-time insights and advocating for global initiatives, digital data helps SIOs and their institutions understand their place within the world. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, institutions must comprehend their role and impact on a global scale. The transcript emphasizes the significance of understanding one’s place within the world, as it enables SIOs to navigate their institution’s position within their local community and the global landscape.

Digital data provides SIOs a comprehensive view of their institution’s international activities, partnerships, and impact. This information allows them to identify areas of strength and areas for improvement. By understanding their institution’s position worldwide, SIOs can strategically align their efforts with global trends and priorities. This not only enhances their institution’s reputation but also ensures that their global engagement efforts are aligned with the world's needs and challenges.

In conclusion, the power of digital data has transformed the role of Strategic International Officers (SIOs) in higher education. The ability to harness real-time insights, advocate for global initiatives, and understand one’s place in the world has become essential for SIOs in building global relationships. By leveraging digital databases and infrastructure, SIOs can develop tools that provide a comprehensive view of their institution’s international activities, enabling them to make informed decisions and drive impactful global engagement. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, the power of digital data will continue to empower SIOs in their mission to foster global relationships and create a positive impact locally and globally.

To catch the full interview with Grant, CLICK HERE.